Mum forced to diagnose ovarian cancer herself after doctors said it was IBS
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Estelle Wignall, 27, was first told by medics that she was simply suffering from IBS when she reported feeling tired and bloated. But later, while browsing through leaflets at a pharmacy, the mum recognised her symptoms as signs of ovarian cancer.
After pushing for tests, Estelle was eventually diagnosed with grade one ovarian cancer.
The receptionist from Wigan, Manchester, had a tumour removed, as well as her right ovary and fallopian tube, and made a full recovery.
Estelle went on to marry her husband Mike and, despite fears that she wouldn't be able to conceive with one ovary, the couple welcomed their first child, Brooke, in May 2020.
Seven months after giving birth to her daughter, Estelle started experiencing the same symptoms that she had when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
As a result of the pandemic, the mum missed a number of screenings, but was eventually diagnosed with cancer for a second time in November 2020.
“After I had my baby, I started an exercise regime and started to notice that I had the same symptoms as I had had before,” she said.
“I had started the 12-week diet challenge, to get rid of my baby weight. I just needed to lose a stone, that was all.
“I started to feel very tired and I had no appetite. I thought it was all due to the diet but it got worse and I began to think cancer might be back.
“I called my GP up for an urgent scan and it came back positive and that it had spread to my lungs and liver as well.
Estelle started treatment in January 2021, where she went through six rounds of chemotherapy, two surgeries, and had a tumour in her lung removed.
This time, Estelle's cancer was stage four and terminal, leaving her with an estimated two to three years to live.
"I refuse to accept that, I want to see my daughter grow up and at least have her remember me", she said.
“I am feeling like, because I am terminal and stage four, the NHS has pretty much written me off.”
The mum asked doctors to refer her for a Guardant360 blood test to identify the type of cancer cells she has.
She explained: “From this, they can recommend the best kind of treatment for me individually, however, the NHS has denied me the help I need."
The mum is now raising money to do the test privately through a GoFundMe page.
“Alongside my GoFundMe page, I shaved my hair for my treatment live feed and donated it to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or other conditions,” she said.
“My husband and brothers shaved their heads as well, and the video raised nearly £4,000 for ovarian cancer charity Ovacome."
So far, Estelle has raised over £30,000 for alternative treatments and trials, but the cancer is continuing to spread.
The mun said: "I have so much fight left in me and I want to try all my options at this point, I can’t imagine life without my family.”
You can donate to Estelle's GoFundMe page here.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.